Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu, the son of a state roadways driver, has risen through the ranks to become the Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh.
Born in Bhavarna village, Sukhu worked multiple jobs to support his family while studying law at Himachal Pradesh University.
He has held various positions within the Congress party and has been an MLA since 2003. On December 11, he was sworn in as the 15th Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh.
Two days after the Congress won 40 seats in the 68-member Himachal Pradesh State Assembly, the Congress leadership on Saturday named Sukhu, 58, as the CM.
Earlier, there was speculation about who might hold the position. One name that was mentioned was Pratibha Singh, the wife of the late CM Virbhadra Singh.
However, with 20 of the 39 Congress MLAs supporting Sukhu, contenders Pratibha Singh and Mukesh Agnihotri fell short, and Sukhu was ultimately chosen for the role.
During his campaign, Sukhu promised to create a clean and honest government and emphasized the need for job creation.
He pledged to focus on filling existing government vacancies and generating private-sector jobs. Sukhu said it was his responsibility to fulfill the promises made by his party to the people and expressed his desire to bring about systemic change.
“We wanted to secure power not merely to be in power. We want to change the system. Give me some time. We need to work hard, struggle to bring in a new system and new thinking,” he said.
1. Humble Beginning
Born on March 27, 1964, in Bhavarna village of Nadaun in Hamirpur district, Sukhu studied law at Himachal Pradesh University, Shimla.
His father Rasil Singh was a driver with the state roadways. As a student, he had to work multiple jobs to supplement the family’s income.
After the news came in that he would be chosen as the new CM, his mother recalled to reporters how Sukhu was keener towards continuing his education rather than working at a young age.
2. Lifelong Congressi
Sukhu was appointed chief of the state unit of the National Students Union of India, the Congress party’s student wing in 1989.
He went on to lead the state unit of the Youth Congress (1998-2008), got elected as a councilor twice (1992-2002) before entering the Vidhan Sabha as an MLA in 2003, and then lead the state Congress committee (2013-2019).
4. Four Time MLA
Sukhu is a four-time MLA from the Nadaun constituency and the head of the Congress’s election committee. He is a popular leader in the region.
He is also considered to be close to the Gandhi family, and Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi were present at his oath-taking ceremony on Sunday.
He thanked the late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and Congress leader Sonia Gandhi for providing him with the charge of crucial positions earlier in his career.
4. He wasn’t on great terms with earlier Congress CM Virbhadra Singh
As the Pradesh Congress Committee president, his tenure was characterized by an acrimonious relationship with the then CM Virbhadra Singh, an enormously influential leader in the state.
“I’m committed to the party ideology. It was all issue-based — there were issues on which I supported him (Virbhadra Singh) and there were issues on which I opposed him,” Sukhu had told The Indian Express in an interview on May 13 this year.
*When asked how despite these rifts he was elevated within the party, he said in an interview with The Indian Express in 2017, “Credibility, clean image and party’s faith in me and my supporters from the state have allowed me to survive against those who pretended that without them there is no Congress in the state.”